The Bank Job
From the word go, The Dark Knight brought us into its complex storyline with one of the most gripping and action-packed opening sequences in the history of cinema. Sprinkled with tidbits about the mysterious Joker, it hopped from one frame to the next, as the gang fell to the great manipulator himself, the Clown Prince of Crime, who fooled everyone into doing his dirty work and robbing the bank.
Surprisingly, for an antagonist who proclaimed he was an agent of chaos, we discovered that he had excellent planning skills here. There’s no way that all came down to pure, dumb luck.
The bank heist operated as a hand-on-heart tribute to Heat as well, which Nolan cited as one of his biggest influences for this movie. Speaking to Variety, he said:
“I always felt Heat to be a remarkable demonstration of how you can create a vast universe within one city and balance a very large number of characters and their emotional journeys in an effective manner.”
The Magic Trick
When all of Gotham’s criminals were seated around the table and bemoaning their Batman issues, it gave off the vibe from the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Im.” Any goofiness was quickly dispelled, though, when the Joker waltzed into the room to cut a deal with the goons.
Gotham’s underground didn’t take too kindly to the clown and wanted to remove him – but not before he showed off his magic trick. He displayed both the showmanship and violence that we expect from the Clown Prince by ramming the rushing thug’s head into a balancing pencil.
It was one of the most brutal Joker moments that we’d seen at the time. If anything, it confirmed that Nolan wasn’t going to be playing around or making his version of the Joker a carbon copy of Tim Burton’s. This was something far more sinister and maniacal.
Additionally, the reveal that Mr. J was armed with grenades and ready to blow everything up if anyone took him on demonstrated the sheer craziness of the character. Who’d be willing to blow themselves up if things went south? That’s just insane!